One of the lovely things about being an artist, is that you can use the excuse of visiting galleries and museums to get you out of the house and call it research. Then you can find a whole range of anonymous pubs and cafes to sit, ponder and read the paper in. Recently, I have done quite a lot of this sort of ‘research’. A sure sign that things are not going too great in my new life in Oxford (so far).

I am sure that there is plenty to commend Oxford as a place to live, work and play, but I have yet to find evidence of it in my two months so far. This is probably down to my lack of detective skills and my tendency to think that rude people are just that. I am not saying that everyone is Oxford is rude, but I have encountered enough of that kind of humourless pompous posturing (particularly prevalent amongst the arty middle classes) to become downhearted about my future here.

Of course I may simply be unfairly projecting this image to divert from the fact that I have been unable to penetrate any social circles or find any like-minded (or complimentary) spirits within this famous varsity city. Perhaps my brand of brash irreverent humour finds few takers amongst these learned folks. Perhaps nobody here really needs to know me. The city oozes a quiet smugness amongst an impenetrable society hidden behind the glorious gates of these fine colleges.

I have tried in vain to charge these notions into my drawings and doodles to make paintings about. But so far, I have not felt that this is a deserving enough subject to develop. I have been north south-east and west peddling on my bicycle by the canals and the Thames/Isis trying to find engaging subjects. I tell my students all the time that subject matter is staring us in the face all the time and all our job is to find ways to unlock it. Will somebody please tell me where you left the keys…

So, from one cafe to another, one bar to another, one movie house to another, then a week of teaching, my life so far in Oxford has not really taken off. However, I have seen a lot of movies, I have drunk a lot of coffee and had more than my fair share of pub meals…

I have to add that my sanity has been mainly saved by genuinely great bunch of students I am teaching at Brookes. It is a tough period for them as they go for interviews for art schools and the stress as some get in and others don’t…

Movies I have seen in the last two months:

Made me laugh and cry. A wonderful film for middle class middle aged under achievers.

Compelling account of Hitler’s last days. It took me there!

9 Songs
Explicit sex and UK indie bands shot on DV and packaged as innovative. Lots of men on their own in the showing I went to.

The Assassination of President Nixon
Sean Penn does a good de Niro impression in this Scorsese like portrait of a little guy taken to the edge.

The Edukators
genuinely original look at youthful idealism and rebellion. Terrific!

Melinda Melinda
They said Woody is back on form, I say this is his dullest for years.

Team America
Gross and funny – but political bite ruined by going too far too many times.

A Very Long Engagement
Wonderful! Best film I have seen in years!

A Life Aquatic
Original and Quirky – loved it.

Do you think they will be quoting the Roblog when they put out the DVDs?

Dont hold your breath for the next blog.